Are you planning to travel this Christmas season? Then, flights might be fuller than expected during a pandemic.
Different airlines around the country have reported an encouraging holiday booking sign two weeks after Thanksgiving – a great boost for them during a year of devastating financial losses. On top of that, airline executives are quite confident that ticket sales won’t decline this month compared to the dive that happened in early July.
On Wednesday, Allegiant Air told investors that COVID-19 spikes have slowly reduced throughout the year – a trend explained by other airlines, too, including Southwest.
Allegiant’s Chief MArketing officer, Scott DeAngelo, stated that they are seeing a clear divergence in terms of customers’ attitudes toward the coronavirus pandemic and their intentions towards travel and leisure. He also said that customers believe the current situation may be getting worse once again, but their intent to book flights and do their usual leisure travel activities will not change.
Scott Kirby, United Airlines’ CEO, said that due to the rising number of new COVID-19 cases, the bookings have flatlined a little. However, he also said that they still expect a strong demand for Christmas holiday travels.
On the other hand, JetBlue Airways’ Chief Executive Officer, Robin Hayes was so optimistic about slowly enhancing holiday booking trends and travel demands on their earnings that an analyst asked if his statement was released a week earlier.
The analyst asked this because of one reason – last week, the United States set a record of 481,511 new positive cases over a seven-day period (according to Johns Hopkins University’s data analysis).
Things aren’t improving either as 18 states set records for new cases in a week, including Utah, Illinois, Colorado, North Carolina, and Virginia. Meanwhile, 5 states, including Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Alaska reported a rise in the number of COVID deaths in a week. As a whole, the country has set yet another record with 569,350 new positive cases.
Some states, including most of the Northeast portion of the country, still enforce quarantine protocols. The New York City Mayor has also urged residents not to go out of state for the holidays because it may cause a second wave of COVID-19 outbreak.
The CDC has not given up on their longtime reminder about traveling during the pandemic. They said that traveling can increase people’s chances of spreading or getting OCVID-19. They also stated that one of the best ways to protect ourselves and other people from the virus is to stay at home.
However, different airlines cite a few reasons for their optimism while acknowledging that the trends could change any time. Here are some of these reasons:
Flying is relatively safe
Airlines are still trying to convince travelers that flying is a low-risk activity. They say that riding on a plane has less risk compared to going out to eat or grocery shopping.
They have been promoting the health and safety measures they are taking. On top of that, they also tout the hospital-grade ventilation systems installed in their cabins, where the air is refreshed every three minutes.
Cheap fares drive ticket sales
Airlines are also enticing travelers to book flights through ticket sales. They said that lower fares help them stimulate traffic. Southwest has been running sales with one-way tickets more often than last year, while JetBlue ran a holiday travel sale to boost travel bookings.